[REVIEW] Veronika Decides to Die

Series: N/A
Paulo Coelho
 adult, contemporary, philosophy, drama, psychology, romance
 July 31, 2005 (first published 1998)
Publisher: HarperTorch (HarperCollins)
Purchase: Amazon

Twenty-four-year-old Veronika seems to have everything - you and beauty, boyfriends and a loving family, a fulfilling job. But something is missing in her life. So, one cold November morning, Veronika decides to die. She takes a handful of sleeping pills, expecting never to wake up. But she does - at a mental hospital where she is told that she has only days to live.
This poignant international bestseller by the author of The Alchemist and Eleven Minutes  takes readers on a quest to find the meaning in a culture overshadowed by angst, soulless routine, and perverse conformity. Based on events in Coelho's own life, Veronika Decides to Die questions the meaning of madness and celebrates individuals who do not fit into patterns society considers to be normal. Bold and illuminating, it is a dazzling portrait of a young woman at the crossroads of despair and liberation, and a poetic, exuberant appreciation of each day as a renewed opportunity.

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This is my first Paulo Coelho book. I don't read a lot of general fiction. Somehow, I think that they just weren't for me but after reading this (and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry) maybe I should start rethinking my choices of books.

Veronika is tired of living an uneventful life in a world that carries problems which she's too powerless to stop. She decides to commit suicide but fortunately (or maybe unfortunately), she wakes up in a mental institution. The doctor tells her she only has days to live as complications of her suicide attempt.

If she wasn't careful, she might end up convinced that life was worth living, and that would cause her pointless pain, since she would soon have to leave this world anyway. -p45

I have no idea how it happened but this book completely absorbed me. It could be that it made me think. It made me wonder. I'm still into books about depression and suicidal characters. I like how they think, how they sulk (okay, that sounded bad but I like books like that). As Veronika fails her suicide, and the doctor of the mental institution telling her that she only has days to live, she still spends her day finding a way to die earlier.

I like how the book really explores the idea of being depression, and being 'crazy.' I was such a delight to think about how this book takes the idea of people who deviates from the norms set by society as 'crazy' and that we're all just 'crazy.'

While I hope that the chemical gets rid of my chronic depression, I want to continue being crazy, living my life the way I dream it, and not the way other people want it to be. -p35

Like many suicide books, Veronika Decides to Die does not only make you think, it also inspires. It's one of those books that tell you to live your life not the way people want you to but the way you want to. I really like how this novel just goes through the mind of a suicidal person and slowly but surely finds her way into finding a reason to live.

OVERALL, it may sound that Veronika Decides to Die can easily get lost in the sea of suicide novels, I'll tell you this - it won't. It's unique in its own way - it's inspiring, it's though provoking, and it's got its own interesting voice. I think that Veronika Decides to Die is a highly recommended read for people who'd like an inspiring general fiction novel.

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What I Like: (1) made me think things through, (2) Veronika was such a lovely character that at some point I was able to relate to, (3) inspiring - tells you to live life to the fullest (isn't that what many suicide books tell us?), (4) so many quotes everywhere! - I ended up marking several pages :D

What I Didn’t Like: N/A

4.5 -> 5.0

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